Daily Archives: December 6, 2012

Making VLMs even easier: the Location Beacon

VLMlogo2Earlier this week I reported on and reviewed a new  Virtual Landmark (VLM) system designed to provide and alternative to traditional landmarks. Created by Darrius Gothly, the Virtual Landmarks for Virtual Worlds system is designed to provide a comprehensive means of ensure landmarks and web links to in-world locations never need to expire.

Now Darrius, has taken the system a step further forward, and make the maintenance and update of VLMs even easier through the use of the VLM Location Beacon.

The VLM Location Beacon logo

The VLM Location Beacon logo

The VLM location beacon is a single-prim object which can be linked to a VLM. Once rezzed and configured (using the VLMurl for the required location), the Location Beacon will become invisible and phantom and will continuously monitor for any changes that need to be posted to the VLMVW Database.

This means that if you need to move your store or a teleport location within a store or exhibit, etc., simply move the Location Beacon associated with the location (either physically if moving it within the same region, or by taking it back to your inventory and then re-rezzing it at your new location), and the VLMVW database will be automatically updated with the details of the new location.

Location Beacons which are in use will also periodically check the VLMVW database to ensure their “parent” VLM record is still active. If either the location referred by the Beacon has been removed from the VLM / VLMVW database (remembering that one VLM record can store up to eight in-world locations) ro the VLM itself has been deleted, the Beacon will self-delete, sending you IM to inform you it has done so in the process.

The VLM location Beacon now forms a standard part of all VLM packages offered by DGP4SL through the SL Marketplace. Anyone who has purchased  package should receive an update from DGP4SL which includes the Location Beacon.

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The Tower

Rebeca Bashly is hailed as one of most successful artists in the Linden Endowment for the Arts Full Sim arts series. She deserves to be. A little over a year ago, in October 2011, she presented a stunning, immersive interpretation of Dante’s Inferno as the initial piece in the 2011/2012 Full Sim Arts series.

Now, in December 2012, she is back with a piece which is equally evocative.

Rebeca describes The Tower as being “symbolic of  restrictive areas, of closed minds, of self limitations and the like, as in kids fables.” It is a marvellous piece, not only because she established the entire installation in less than 24 hours, but because the scenes it presents are so emotive  powerful.

It is a piece which needs no intermediary descriptions or explanations; it speaks loudly and clearly for itself. Simply use the orchid floating on the water to commence your journey, climb the stairs and look for further orchids as you pass through each level.

Everything is a testament to the artist’s vision and skill. The imagery is perfectly balanced by the ambience of the setting. It is also a tour de force demonstration of the visual power of immersive environments as a medium for art and expression.

The Tower is open through until the end of the month. Don’t miss it.

The Blue Marble turns beautifully black

Since we first ventured into space, there have been a number of images returned to us with show both the beauty and the fragility of the place we call home – the Earth, with perhaps two of the most iconic being Earthrise and The Blue Marble.

Earthrise was taken by William Anders aboard Apollo 8 on December 24th, 1968 as he, mission Commander Frank Borman and colleague Jim Lovell became the first men to travel around the Moon and back to Earth. While there has been some dispute over the years as to who took the image, Borman and Lovell both having grabbed the camera on which the original was taken to capture shots of their own, it remains perhaps one of the most famous images of modern history.

1990 – “Earthrise” (click to enlarge)

In 1972 came The Blue Marble, an image captured from Apollo 17 on December 17th, 1972 from a distance of 45,000 kilometres (28,000 miles). While the term has been subsequently applied by NASA to a wide range of images of Earth returned from orbiting satellites, the original Apollo 17 photograph remains the most famous.

1972: The Blue Marble (click to enlarge)

On December 6th, 2012, NASA released three composite high-definition pictures of images captured by the Suomi NPP meteorological satellite using its VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) instrument. Part of a series of images captured by the satellite which reveal the Earth at night in stunning detail, the three images are “whole Earth” pictures showing views from over Africa, the Americas and Australia and Asia.

All three are amazing views of the planet, but I have to confess that of them all, it is the picture  showing Africa and Europe which is for me the most stunning. Not because I’m from the UK, which can just be seen in the image, but because the picture says so much about our place on Earth. Just look at the lights of our cities spread across Europe, and the seemingly tiny sprinkling of lights around Africa.

2012: The Black Marble (click to enlarge) – via the BBC

All of these images deserve to become as iconic as Earthrise, The Blue Marble and other famous images such as 1990’s Pale Blue Dot, taken from a distance of 6 billion kilometres (3.7 billion miles) by the Voyager 1 spacecraft revealing the Earth as a tiny pinpoint of reflected sunlight hanging in space.

Together, all of these images remind us that in all the vastness of space, we only have one place to call home. It belongs to us all, and we’re all responsible for it. Let’s make sure we take care of it.

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All images reproduced courtesy of NASA